by Diane Webster 


Plastic tulips and silk roses
pretend they grow around
my parents’ gravestone.

Still not allowing them
truth after all these years
dead in the ground
in their forever-home caskets.

Stone-faced names chiseled
like Russian smiles
in black and white photos
of ancestors scowling
disapproval even after
the page is turned.

Even after death lies
buried beneath my feet;
my feet itch to stomp
on the holes that house
my parents’ bones,
but I still don’t want
their judgment.


Who would steal an angel
and wed it to a gnome
from my front yard to theirs?

What children born
from this union
of pilfered beings
forced to live
in a strange land?

To preside
over a neighborhood
of thieves and outsiders
their stone faces
a testimony
of disapproval
when I saw only


Drowning —
breathe in the amniotic fluid
one life supporting
now death.
Breathe in, cough out
no longer able to out
all in to descend
like a waterlogged branch
stuck in mud with leaves
swaying in water wind.

Hanging —
tight strangulation
where breath struggles
in birth-panting gasps
not enough to fend
off unconscious dark,
a dream in silent fade.

Bullet —
feel barrel nestled
under chin bone
like a kissing lover
discovering the soft spot.
Cool until it warms
to body temperature,
a tunnel like a birth canal
in reverse to discover
the way out behind
the track of a .38 explosion.

Blade —
thirsty in a desert.
A carving of longitudinal lines
where time zones
flow into pooled
curiosities of the body’s
insides now released
to roam the floor’s cracks
in pseudo veins where gravity dictates
with dizzying darkness,
where weary rest
in Rip Van Winkle
never-never land.

Last impression —
a snow angel
in grass hay
lying under blue sky
with Monarch butterflies
pretending a breeze.
I close my eyes
dust to dust.


Forty years gone
with her last exhale,
and I am alone
to mourn alone,
to keep our album
tucked under my shirt
to straighten my back
into military attention,
eyes forward, stiff,
a tree succumbing
to desert sand
grain by grain,
dead leaf by dead leaf,
praying for petrification
to paralyze my core.


I feel like a reclaimed house
in the woods creeping ever
closer, on the porch, inside.

Rocks and hail smash
windows into shards.
Red paint retreats
wrinkles into siding.
Doors lose locks
as weather grays frames.
Roof creates a skylight
all on its own.

I raise my studs skyward
not for redemption
but in pleas to take me
quickly now please.

About the Author:

Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado.  She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs.  Writing poetry provides a creative outlet exciting in images and phrases Diane thrives in.  Her work has appeared in “the Aurorean,” “Better Than Starbucks,” “Philadelphia Poets,” and other literary magazines.